Mario Casciaro is a software engineer and technical lead with a passion for open source. After the recent publication of his successful book Node.JS Design Patterns, we caught up with him to discuss his views on today’s most important web development skills, and what the future holds.
The best tool for the job may not be in your skillset yet
I remember working on a small side project, something I try to do as much as possible, to put new skills into practice and try things outside of my job. It was a web application, something very similar to a social network, and I remember choosing Java with the Spring Framework as the main technology stack, and Backbone on the front-end. At the time – around 4 years ago – I was an expert Java developer, and considered it the technology with the most potential. It worked perfectly to implement enterprise web applications as well as mission-critical distributed applications and even mobile apps. While Java is still a popular and valuable tool in 2015, my experience doing this small side project made me rethink my opinion – I wouldn’t use it today unless there was a particular need for it.
I remember that at some point I realized I was spending a lot of my development time in designing the object-oriented structure of the application and writing boilerplate code. Trying to find a solution, I migrated the project to Groovy and Grails and on the front-end I tried to implement a small homemade two-way binding framework. Things improved a little, but I was still feeling the need for something more agile on both ends, something more suited to the web.
The web moves fast, so always let your skills evolve
The technologies and the skills that matter today for a web developer
Always stay ahead of the curve
Today, as 4 years ago, the technologies that will play an important role in the web of tomorrow are already making an impact.
WebRTC, for example, enables the creation of real-time peer-to-peer applications in the browser, without the need for any additional plugin. Developers are already using it to build fast and lightweight audio/video conferencing applications or even complete BitTorrent clients in the browser!
Another revolutionizing technology is going to be ServiceWorkers which should dramatically improve the capabilities of offline applications. On the front end, WebComponents are going to play a huge role, and the Polymer project has already demonstrated what this new set of standards will be able to create.